NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Each year New Mexico’s Crime Victims Reparation Commission spends millions helping victims of violent crimes handle expenses. It also provides federal and state funds to victim support and assistance programs. The commission received more than 3,000 applications from victims and handed out around $2.2 million, according to CVRC’s 2021 annual report. The money pays for things like funerals, medical expenses, and lost wages.
“For the last four fiscal years we’ve paid more for funerals than our counterparts nationwide and that attributes to the increased violence in our state,” said Frank Zubia, director for CVRC.
CVRC also administers money to 145 state-wide projects. More than $20 million went to programs like the Victims of Crime Act Assistance and Sexual Assault Service Program. That money comes from state and federal funding.
When it comes to money for crime victim reparations the commission has penalty assessments. This means if someone is convicted of a felony in New Mexico they pay $75 and if someone is convicted of a misdemeanor then they must pay $50. That money goes towards victims of crimes.
At the last legislative session the Fines and Fees Justice Center introduced three pieces of legislation that could impact CVRC funding.
One of those bills include SB 181. According to the organization, “SB 181 incorporates principles from New Mexico’s Court Rules on ability-to-pay and streamlines the ability-to-pay assessment, gives judicial discretion back to judges, requires payment plans in 30-day increments, expands the scope of community service activities, increases conversion rates for both community service and jail using the prevailing local minimum wage rate, limits the assessment of fees to once per case, and requires credit for presentence confinement”
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CVRC doesn’t provide reparations for all crimes in New Mexico. There is a list of 18 eligible crimes, like aggravated assault, manslaughter, and human trafficking. The commission is also working to identify underserved crime victims that aren’t getting assistance because they cannot sign up for assistance due to things like broadband issues.